On the precipice of our 50th anniversary as a global brand and symbol of music and pop culture, our goal was to seek an icon that could not only commemorate our birthday party – but unite and invite three generations of enthusiasts to celebrate along with us, across our global footprint.
With this unprecedented standard, we looked to the most beloved athlete and cultural figure on the planet, Lionel Messi, to help personify the GREATNESS of the past while also casting a visionary beacon of light towards the future.
Our Brand has always honored those that stood apart. Iconoclastic leaders and pillars of pop culture whose art and talent inspired so many to believe. So it was with these optics that we positioned our partnership with Messi as LIVE GREATNESS. This optimistic, human, and all-inclusive brand platform was a perfect fit for Messi – and all he has achieved and inspired in others – for our 50th anniversary.
With this powerful language – LIVE GREATNESS – we, as a brand and business, together with our guests, felt empowered! And, why not? LIVE GREATNESS stands for a CULTURAL MANIFEST that emanates through our halls, reverberates through our speakers, and an unspoken, yet understood language among our guests. It’s an open invitation to unite. To elevate collective spirits and moments, to inspire, and to be BOLD …just like the icons that adorn the walls of our cafes. Live Greatness was an appropriate way to commemorate our 50th Birthday by Honoring our past while shining a light to the future.
The objective behind introducing Hard Rock Cafe on TikTok ways to reach and connect with the Gen Z audience – a new audience for the brand. Our goal was to create a strong following and brand presence on the platform by creating entertaining, relatable, and fun content that invited a new generation of customers to our Cafes and online destinations.
In terms of key metrics, we felt 10k followers on the app within the first two months of starting the campaign to build a community for Hard Rock Fans and make sure it reflected the Facebook & Instagram profiles in terms of followers and engagement.
As an older brand, we needed to do some work on shedding previous perceptions that Hard Rock Cafe was only for the older consumer. Our strategy was to jump on TikTok trends with a Hard Rock Cafe twist to tap into the younger audiences and showcase the brand as more youthful.
We also used TikTok ads to reach people within the target age group with a combination of video views and content interaction campaigns whilst also running traffic campaigns to form an audience base that we could use in future.
One challenge with switching to a new platform with a new audience was that most of the content we had previously produced didn’t feel relevant for TikTok. We had to start from scratch by building the brand image with new messaging and types of content to resonate with the new audience. It was hard to jump on Gen Z trends without violating the brand guidelines, so we had to be very careful in making sure the content still aligned with the brand values. Through trial and error, based on engagement rates and video views, we managed to land on a content formula that worked consistently.
TikTok ads also presented another challenge. At the time, resources on navigating TikTok ads were limited, so it was hard to find solutions to our problems. The way TikTok Ads Manager operates now differs to when we first started in September 2021. We found we were targeting regions that were too large. EU and US audiences didn’t respond to the content and the ads equally. The EU audiences were much more responsive and interactive, so we decided to put more effort into engaging the US audiences where Hard Rock Cafe is a much bigger brand. However, creating ads targeting the US required much more budget to obtain similar results as in Europe, so we had to be strategic in what content we put budget behind.
Within 4 months of starting the Hard Rock Cafe TikTok page:
We gained a following of 50k with £6,220 paid budget
Followers went up from 19,000 to 58,330
Paid social reach went from 74,666 to 166,000
Video Views went from 2,287,310 to 4,997,136
Live Greatness- Messi Burger Campaign
It was crucial that we delivered a restaurant experience that was worthy of our strategic collaboration with Messi. Our strategic imperatives were to create a Messi-themed LIVE GREATNESS merchandise collection while also developing a signature MESSI BURGER that could be enjoyed across our global restaurant footprint. To encourage campaign awareness, we ran a series of paid social campaigns targeting placements like reels, stories and TikTok to reach new audiences. These campaigns featured Messi in a video creative, which resulted in a very successful paid campaign.
We focused our efforts on this campaign on TikTok, Influencer marketing, paid social and on Messi’s personal social media channels!
On TikTok we published a series of videos focusing on the new Burger and why it was named at the GOAT himself.
Influencer marketing focused both in NA & EU to reach their audiences to talk about Hard Rock Cafe's new offering, this had a great impact on the campaign overall. We reached out to Macro and Micro influencers, which resulted in reaching a broader audience as well as highly targeted audiences of the micro influencers.
Lastly, a collaboration post with Messi himself helped push the campaign to the height we needed. This performed wonderfully in reaching a global audience that spans not only America, but Europe and the Middle East.
As part of the campaign we collaborated with Messi on Instagram, the posts result are as follows
31.9M reach, 37.1M Impressions, 2.5M engagement
The total organic performance of the Messi Burger posts are as follows, this includes all platforms,
Total Reach : 36,002,559
Total Engagement: 2,633,646
While only Paid results are as follows
Total Reach: 42,536,563
Total Engagements: 4,434,577
Some of the best performing videos are linked below:
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